WASHINGTON: Donald Trump’s State of the Union address on Tuesday will be one of the president’s last, best chances to win over more of the American public to his nationalist agenda ahead of midterm elections that will be a referendum on his tumultuous administration.

White House officials say the president will dial back his signature combative posture and instead frame his policy proposals — from immigration to infrastructure — as areas where Democrats and Republicans can work together. Trump will still take ample time to argue that the U.S. economy has been revitalized by policies that have had little to no bipartisan appeal, including the tax overhaul and efforts to curb regulations.

“He will talk about the fact that America is open for business, and the president will also make an appeal to Democrats to say we need to rebuild our country and make an appeal that you do infrastructure,” White House legislative director Marc Short said on Fox News Sunday. “We need to do it in a bipartisan way.”

Trump will enter the House chamber Tuesday night as the most unpopular modern president to deliver his first State of the Union speech. He’s averaged just a 38 percent approval rating over his first year in office, according to Gallup. White House aides are marshaling allies to spread the word about the change in tone, and the direction of his prime-time address is a tacit admission that Trump’s approach to governing so far has done little to endear him to voters outside of his base.

Damaging revelations from the probe into his campaign’s possible collusion with Russia have been matched by controversies of the president’s making, with many Americans dismayed by his handling of racial issues, attacks on the media, and subverting of political norms. The result of that constant disarray, fanned by regular West Wing backstabbing in the press and a relentless series of political missteps, is a president and party who voters are resistant to crediting even for successes, including recent economic gains.

“The guy has performed so poorly and he has created such animus and a cloud of suspicion about him,” said presidential historian Robert Dallek. “The essential element for any president is credibility. If you’re not a credible or reliable spokesperson for himself, how can you govern in this country?”

The White House hopes to combat that sentiment with a speech arguing that the accomplishments of the administration’s first year were the unprecedented result of a unique president, and that economic growth has lifted up the entire country. Organized around the theme of “building a safe, strong, and proud America,” according to two senior administration officials, the president’s tone will be optimistic as he argues that he cares about improving life for all Americans.

Ultimately, Trump will need to reconcile his message that the nation is on the upswing with the prevailing sentiment that he’s taking the country in the wrong direction, Dallek said.

“I’m sure he’s going to talk about the economy and how terrific the stock market has been and he will pound his chest as he usually does as to his achievements, that he’s a great man and a great president,” Dallek said. But viewers will balance that message against a president who “seems to thrive on combativeness and fighting with people and diminishing them to make himself feel better.”

In the speech, Trump is expected to address his plans for rebuilding the nation’s crumbling bridges, roads and airports, long viewed by Republicans and Democrats as a potential area of bipartisan support. DJ Gribbin, Trump’s infrastructure adviser, said last week that the administration plans to send its proposal to Congress in the coming weeks.

The White House plan would rely on leveraging at least $200 billion in federal money over 10 years to get states, localities and the private sector to pour at least $800 billion into infrastructure projects.

The president may also unveil plans to streamline regulatory approvals, in what he’s pitched as a bid to get infrastructure projects moving faster and decrease the burden on developers. Opponents say that Trump is threatening basic environmental and safety regulations that ensure roads, bridges, and pipelines are properly assessed for their potential impact.